Why is Mars the “Red Planet”? A New, Novel Hypothesis on the Features of Mars and the Origin of the Asteroid Belt

  •  Jack R. Edelman    


Mars has always been known as the “Red Planet because it is the only planet in our solar system with a red surface. The reasons for this uniqueness have never been proposed, other than the fact that its soil and surface rocks have a high content of iron oxide. In order to attempt to resolve this issue, a novel hypothesis is proposed herewith. Formulation of this hypothesis involved considering the unique features of Mars and putting them into a rational correlating explanation. The scenario involves the collision of a formerly much larger Mars with another planet early in the solar system’s history. The crust and mantle were blown off, forming the asteroid belt, leaving the iron core intact. Upon cooling and solidification, the iron core combined with oxygen in the remaining atmosphere to form rust-colored iron oxide (rust). Methane in the early atmosphere underwent combustion, forming its current high carbon dioxide atmosphere.  The combustion of methane also produced massive amounts of liquid water, explaining the dried-up erosional features of the planet’s surface, such as river valleys. The point of impact formed a long, deep canyon, Valles Marineris, and the nearby giant volcano, Olympus Mons, even in the absence of Mars’ tectonic activity. The cooled, solidified core may explain why Mars has no magnetic field. If accurate, these ideas may help space programs prepare astronauts for manned exploration of the Red Planet, as well as facilitating an understanding of its unusual features.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9779
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9787
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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